Urbana trying to protect previous fraternity, sorority homes with new makes use of | Housing

URBANA — Rising previous fraternity and sorority properties dot Urbana’s panorama, however what turns into…

URBANA — Rising previous fraternity and sorority properties dot Urbana’s panorama, however what turns into of those vital homes when learners no for an extended interval wish to live in them?

That’s an problem city officers are hoping to deal with with possible zoning changes meant to each equally protect and repurpose previous Greek homes after they fall vacant.

“These constructions have been throughout for a really very long time,” claimed metropolis planner Kat Trotter. “They’re aged, they’re properly-built, they usually result in the character of the neighborhood.”

There are about 20 Greek properties in Urbana — some nonetheless in use as fraternity or sorority homes, some not — and all of them are within the metropolis’s R-7 College Residential zoning districts.

The metropolis lists two principal causes for these districts, that are located in an location bounded by California Avenue on the north, Vermont Avenue on the south, Orchard Avenue on the east and Mathews Avenue on west — to protect the architectural character and use of the buildings and to defend the shut by low-density neighborhoods from makes use of that could be incompatible.

What’s right now allowed in these zoning districts primarily accommodates rooming homes, dorms, communal residing facilities and one-loved ones homes, Trotter said.

Under current zoning, altering outdated Greek properties to residences isn’t permitted, she claimed.

In the meantime, residing preferences of pupils have modified greater than the numerous years, and fewer are fascinated in residing in giant group settings, Trotter stated.

Mike Kellner, who owns a earlier sorority property at 606 W. Ohio St., U, stated he’s in the mean time renting the 25-bedroom residence to 13 fraternity members — and he was compelled to cut back the hire to make it inexpensive for much less occupants.

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“The difficulty that now we have been acquiring within the newest a few years is giant groups have been dwindling, and so we’re getting a much more and way more powerful time finding a bunch of 20 to 25 folks that may handle the home,” he stated.

The residence is presently on the market, Kellner said. And whereas he’s not within the development group, he defined, it could be an excellent risk for an individual who is prepared change it to boutique residences if that will get to be allowable.

The metropolis has been gathering public enter through a survey and conferences on the varieties of enhancements that might be produced, with some individuals favoring the aptitude to flip aged Greek residences into firms these sorts of as espresso outlets or bakeries, Trotter talked about.

“There’s unquestionably curiosity in preserving the Greek residences,” she talked about. “We’re doing the job by the use of what types of makes use of can be appropriate in these constructions, and that’s the goal of the examine.”

It’s essential to watch that any new works through the use of that will presumably be allowed would solely be allowed in current Greek properties, and any particular person aspiring to set an individual to a brand new use would wish to have to make use of the current making.

“We wish to see these properties reused and preserved,” Trotter defined.

The neighborhood may have at minimal only one further choice to weigh in at a meeting being held on Zoom at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The on the web survey will carry on being open until at the least then, Trotter stated.

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A proposed modification to the zoning ordinance, not nonetheless penned, could maybe be taken to the metropolis system fee in early April, and if that group approves it, the change would require to go to the town council for closing approval.

Hyperlinks to the survey and forthcoming Zoom assembly may be recognized at urbanaillinois.us/node/10039 and urbanaillinois.us/r7update.